Merck KGaA plans to make a € 80 million (almost 108 million USD) investment in a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, to be located in the Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA), in the Greater Shanghai region of China, the company announced in a press release. Merck KGaA also plans to expand its global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, the company announced in a separate press release.
The new facility in China will focus on Merck KGaA brands referenced in China’s essential drug list. The facility will produce and package Glucophage, Concor, and Euthyrox, Merck KGaA’s brands for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid disorders, respectively. The facility will cover an area of 40,000 square meters, with a possible 20,000-square-meters extension. Site construction is scheduled to start in 2014 and to be completed in 2016. Commercial production is expected to start in 2017. The facility will become the second largest manufacturing site of the company’s biopharmaceuticals division globally.
Over the past five years, Merck KGaA has made several investments in its biopharmaceuticals division in China, including a research center in Beijing and enhanced clinical development capabilities. The division also has an extensive network of collaborations with academic and medical institutions and local companies.
At the Merck KGaA headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, the company presented a framework plan for expansion that is part of the Group-wide strategic "Fit for 2018" growth program, which Merck has instituted to become more efficient and innovative. Current projects, such as the construction of two energy stations and the official opening of Merck Serono headquarters in Oct. 2013, are also in line with the framework plan.
The Darmstadt headquarters, which will be celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2018, is Merck's largest production and research location worldwide. The expansion plans include an innovation center and visitor’s center, as well as urban redevelopment activities. Plans will be presented to the local community at a Nov. 26 public citizens’ meeting.